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What Are the Different Types of Coffee Withdrawal Symptoms?

Clogged sinuses can occur as part of caffeine withdrawal.
Headaches are one symptom of a coffee withdrawal.
Article Details
  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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People who suddenly skip their morning coffee may find that they are experiencing some unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal. These are actually caffeine withdrawal symptoms, but since coffee is the most common source of caffeine, many people consider them to be coffee withdrawal symptoms. The most common coffee withdrawal symptoms include feelings of fatigue and sluggishness, a pounding headache, and irritability. Other people might actually experience flu-like symptoms, such as nausea, clogged sinuses, or even muscle pain. Depression and lack of concentration are common as well. These symptoms typically start within 12 hours to one day of ceasing drinking coffee, depending on the frequency with which an individual drank coffee in the first place.

Unfortunately, coffee withdrawal symptoms can last for a few hours all the way up to a week or ten days depending on severity, making it incredibly difficult for some people to give up coffee altogether. The earliest and most severe coffee withdrawal symptom is typically a headache; many people trying to stop drinking coffee will get a pounding headache that makes it difficult to function. A complete inability to concentrate or focus on the task at hand often accompanies this headache.

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Interruptions of sleep patterns are also common coffee withdrawal symptoms. Many people will suddenly feel sluggish, tired, or lethargic when they give up coffee. Others may experience the opposite, and not be able to sleep at all. These interrupted sleeping patterns often exacerbate other common coffee withdrawal symptoms, including depression and irritability. In addition to feeling sad, individuals might find that they are snapping at everyone around them and have no patience, and that everyone is getting on their nerves.

Bodily symptoms can be present as well. Flu-like symptoms, such as nausea and muscle pain, are quite common. Some people actually experience vomiting; others will get constipation. A stuffy nose and clogged sinuses can occur as well. These coffee withdrawal symptoms don't occur in all cases, and some people more vulnerable that others, but for those who previously drank a great deal of coffee every day, they may be quite severe.

Unfortunately, there is really nothing to be done about caffeine withdrawal symptoms. Some people find it helpful to gradually cut back on the amount of caffeine consumed every day until there is none, or by mixing decaf coffee in with regular coffee, which can lessen the effects of the withdrawal symptoms. Switching to a lesser form of caffeine, such as that found in tea, might be helpful as well, and can be a good way to step down from daily cups of coffee.

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